Confederate Monuments and Memorials: What Role Will They Play in this Year's Elections?

Jun 2, 2017

The Jefferson Davis monument on Monument Avenue in Richmond.
Credit Wikipedia

It may be 2017. But listen to candidates for statewide office, and you might think it’s the 1860s. Michael Pope has this look at how the Election of 2017 is playing out against a backdrop of Virginia’s Civil War history.

Take down all Confederate statues and memorials. Rename roads and schools that honor Confederate leaders. That’s part of Democrat Susan Platt’s campaign for the Democratic nomination for lieutenant governor.

And she wants the next governor to appoint her to a commission to make it happen.

“I’m not saying forget it. I’m saying write it down on a piece of paper in a book and put it on the shelf so we can learn about it. But there’s no need that we have to have people reminded of these kinds of symbols of hate and slavery in front of their faces every single day.”

On the other side of that issue is Republican Corey Stewart, who’s running in the Republican primary for governor. He’s become one of the leading advocates for preserving Confederate history in Virginia and across the South.

“Only tyrants, and only dictators try to take down statues and monuments and take names off of parks and buildings and try to rewrite history. We’ve never done that in America.”

Will Confederate politics influence the election? Voters will determine that issue when they head to the polls June 13th.

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.